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Celebrating as one despite differences

Publication Date : 11-02-2013

 

The Year of the Snake slithers in, marking the first day of the new Lunar Year, which is celebrated by the Chinese community here and throughout the world.

But only in our nation, with our multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious make-up, is it celebrated with such pomp and pageantry, not only by the Chinese, but also by all their fellow citizens.

It is a testimony to the unique tapestry of our nationhood, where customs sometimes criss-cross across ethnic lines, that we not only celebrate among our own kind, but are able to gather together as one in the true open house tradition.

The celebration, which runs over 15 days, comes at a time when the political temperature has gone up a few degrees. So we can expect public gatherings, especially those organised by political parties, to be interpreted in many different ways for their political significance.

But talking politics has always been a Malaysian pastime so there will just be that much more to say amid the food and fellowship this time around.

Still, we must acknowledge that such events also have the capacity to bring together political foes if they can put aside their differences for a while and simply celebrate with one another.

Perhaps, because the general election is just around the corner, some politicians simply cannot rise above the politicking and feel the need to score points at every turn. Any event put together by “the other side” will be scrutinised to its finest detail until the real purpose of celebrating the occasion is lost.

But ordinary Malaysians are able to rise above such pettiness and have shown that when it comes to people-to-people interactions, we can and we will always see the nation as one. Never mind that there will always be groups and individuals that seek to see our nation divided.

That is what the real Malaysia is about. We are rich not because we are able to showcase to the world the colourful pomp and pageantry of the many celebrations throughout the year, but because we, as a people, have nurtured a nation that has been so intricately woven together despite our differences.

 

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